150 Tasting Notes

drank Yunnan White Jasmine by Verdant Tea
150 tasting notes

This. Tea.

I think I got a dopamine or endorphin spike from this!

Delicious, fresh, smooth, elegantly complex because the jasmine is perfectly toned. As Dinosara said, “juicy.” If you are looking for a lift, drink this. If you want to be self-indulgent, drink this. If you want to make someone you care about feel well-cared for, make them a cup.

Giving this my highest rating of about 100 teas rated so far.

Flavors: Caramel, Honeysuckle, Jasmine

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drank Lemon Drop by American Tea Room
150 tasting notes

Pleasantly surprised by this sample I received with an order from ATR. They hit the lemon perfectly with this blend – for me, good intensity and nice flavor. Best use of bergamot that I’ve ever experienced – - I am usually not at all a fan — but here it lies in the background as a low-key accent. The overall flavor intensity is strong but not overbearing.

2nd steep still has a lot of flavor though unfortunately the bergamot comes out of the wings and settles in the front row. Next time no resteeping for me :) though bergamot fans will consider it lovely, still having a nice balance of lemon to it.

If you are looking for a lemony tea I would recommend this; it has a more sophisticated flavor profile than you’d expect in a lemon tea, and it tastes natural.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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I’ve never gotten the baked bread/pastry flavor in a tea until this, and it’s present here in a big way, and deliciously so. The flavor complementarity is a trip because it is so close to a pastry experience. Or Challah with marzipan (as Boychik called it) cinnamon french toast with maple syrup.

Second steep retains the novelty though with the cinnamon picking up the spiciness a bit in the foreground.

While the flavor is wonderful, the overall experience of this tea is a little light. I would score this much higher if the black base had more depth – that would be superb tea. I look forward to experimenting blending this tea in combo with richer blacks since the flavor profile seems strong enough to hold up.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Pastries, Vanilla

1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Romanoff by American Tea Room
150 tasting notes

Nice black -orange combo. Scores high on flavor profile but only medium on depth, which is the main feature I enjoy about blacks. Would benefit from upping the leaf volume per cup. I had to follow this with a cup of Samovar’s Blood Orange Puerh as comparison and found the latter had far more dimension to it, still a favorite despite its ginger component.

Plan is to try adding cocoa shells or nibs to this next time around.

1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Demain by Nina's Paris
150 tasting notes

People: don’t give up on this till you try it iced.

It was just nice as a hot cup, with the berry flavor predominant and tasting natural, but it seemed a little flat overall.

For the 2nd steep I inadvertently let it cool and by that time it was in the 80’s outside so I decided to pop in some cubes and it was delicious. The flavors seemed to blend much better – though maybe this was due to its being a 2nd infusion – and it was smooooth and refreshing, tasted like happiness feels, if that makes sense. Kaylee caught the same wave on this one. Thanks for the sample, Christine!

3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I have less enthusiasm for this tea than other folks here, though I enjoyed it more than any other wuyi oolong I’ve had. Which isn’t saying much; not a big fan. This one is in a different league because it doesn’t have any rough edges, but has instead a surprising light sweetness more characteristic of a greener oolong… jasmine and maybe peach. The sweetness is the predominant flavor but it is not perfumey, just distinctly present. With a faint hint of minerals adding a little complexity. I’m glad others enjoyed it, though. Happy to trade this one to someone who’ll appreciate it more.

1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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April, 2014 harvest
Searching for descriptors for this tea, a bit of serendipity played out: it tastes remarkably similar to the split pea/lentil/vegetable soup I made last night! So that ‘pairing’ before lunch today was fun, trying to deconstruct the flavors in the soup that gave rise to the similarity. The tea isn’t a straight-ahead pea/lentil soup flavor, definitely pulls in the added veggies… carrot, onion, celery, garlic(!) and kale… as well as the assorted herbs used.

In the end the winner was: kale and tarragon. Finding the tarragon note in the tea was the most fun, because I didn’t use much in the soup but the tea played it up!

One of the more novel tea tasting experiences I’ve had, highly recommend for anyone trying to ID the flavor notes in savory green teas :)

This was my second dragonwell of the day following Teavivre’s organic superfine version, aspiring here to advance my dragonwell appreciation. Both were subtle and had me searching for their nuances, probably due to my modest dragonwell experience. Adding to the description above, this one had a less astringent finish and more roasted flavor though still very vegetal.

Next time I’ll prep them using 2 tsp per cup.

Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for the spring green tasting flight :)

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Kale, Roasted, Vegetable Broth

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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April, 2014 harvest
This tea brews up a pleasant, smooth, buttered artichoke cup. The flavor depth is lighter than its fragrance. Mild astringent aftertaste.

Brewed it twice to see if adding more leaf would boost the flavor depth: it helped a bit but it is still a little more subtle than what I would prefer. Looking forward to comparing it to the premium sample that Teavivre sent me.

Flavors: Artichoke, Popcorn, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Mate Roasted by Lupicia
150 tasting notes

I generally enjoy mate blends more than straight mate, but this one is good enough to drink on its own, the best I’ve had in that regard. It has rounder, almost malted notes. Thanks to Becky for the great trade :)

(I recommend this for a straight mate, which to me is a bit of a lower standard than recommending as a tea.)

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Barnyard, Brown Toast, Hot hay, Malt, Roasted

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Sometimes when first smelling or tasting a new tea it feels like something of an interaction: its scent or taste ‘greets’ you with something so pleasant that you are moved to respond with a self-surprised “hello!” So it happened to me this morning with this tea.

First the dry leaves’ ripe apricot scent drew me in, intrigued and hopeful that the flavor would bear out this promise; I was kind of excited. And then more so to find that when brewed that apricot flavor remained, although now more toward sweet stewed apricots. Whoop! And complemented by a true lychee flavor. There is also a slightly complex brothy savoriness to it which offers a good comfort factor.

I steeped it at the maximum time suggested, which is 6 minutes. I would recommend that for this tea because it became so nicely full-flavored without any edge. Likely as a result of this, the second steeping had little flavor.

Thank you, Angel, this was a wonderful sample.

BTW, I used the “What flavors and scents do you notice” dropdown for the first time with this tea, and looking through, have to say: “Roasted chicken” is a choice?!!! Come on, how funny is that.

Flavors: Apricot, Cut grass, Green Beans, Lychee, Smooth, Vegetable Broth

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Strong preference for exploring teas au naturel, and unflavored (except for unprocessed ingredients, e.g., cocoa shells/nibs, vanilla beans, flowers, fruits…). Favorites lean in the direction of rich caramelly, malty blacks, any puerh, fresh floral oolongs and whites that have some dimension.

I am always up for swaps.

Beyond the experience of tea, I’m interested in exploring its medicinal aspects. Other interests … yoga, creative veggie cooking, environmental issues, animal welfare, music/guitar, lefty politics, preventive health/nutrition, biking, swimming, foosball, photography.

Here’s how I rate ’em:

95+: euphoria-inducing, le petite mort
91-94: extraordinary, exhilarating
85-90: delicious
81-84: definitely enjoyable
75-80: good, solid stuff
65-74: I’ll drink it, but without enthusiasm
45-64: something redeeming about it, but not much
31-44: just barely drinkable
< 30: tidy stream into the spit bucket


Metro DC

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